or, Why Wings Probably Really Evolved
- Controlled Falls: Winged dinosaurs were predators, and would have chased or ambushed prey. Wings would allow them to better control pounces and leaps, as well as slow falls from high places that might otherwise injure them.
- Wing-Assisted Incline Running: Wings can be used by their owners to help them climb steep hills or tree trunks.
- Mantling: Seen in birds of prey even today, wings are useful for hiding prey items from opportunistic passersby who might steal them. Also useful for hiding vulnerable offspring from sight.
- Camouflage: Wings can have intricate patterning that help their owners blend into the background, and also help break up their silhouette- particularly important if your predators have poor color vision, like mammals (and mammals were around long before dinosaurs!).
- Secondary Sexual Characteristic: Glossy, healthy, bright wings and other feathery appendages are indicators of good health, desirable in mates. It’s an honest signal to females that the male is in good condition and can pass those genes on to the offspring.
- Ritualization: The same sexual characteristics can also settle disputes between competing males (or females, if the sexual roles are reversed) without violence. An individual can visually determine if he has a chance in a fight with his opponent without ever fighting. It increases the fitness of both parties.
- Deimatic Behavior: This is defensive behavior, or a startle response. Wings can make a bird (or dinosaur) look much larger than they are, and bright colors and bold patterns can startle a predator and deter the attack.
The Rubber Boa is one of a tiny handful of boa species found in North America and the only one in Canada.
They get their name from the fact that they look like they’re made of rubber. Their tiny scales are amazingly shiny and their skin appears oddly loose such that they have all these weird wrinkles about them.
Rubber Boas are almost completely defenceless. They have no venom, and when threatened they’ll simply roll up into a ball and shake their tail around to pretend it’s their head. They practically never bite!
For ophidiophobes, it’s one of the world’s least worst snakes!